The U.S. U20 women’s national team overcame a conservative Guatemalan defense, which continuously put eight players behind the ball, on way to a 6-0 victory in the opening game of Group B play at the 2012 CONCACAF U20 Championship.
Lindsey Horan scored three, Julie Johnston added two, and Katie Stengel netted one in the one-sided affair on Friday.
Horan first found the back of the net 12 minutes after the opening whistle thanks to a well-placed cross from outside back Crystal Dunn, which the striker headed home.
U.S. dominated possession throughout the game, but Guatemala had its best run of play after the opening goal. Guatemala only had a half-chance during the spell, and keeper Bryane Heaberlin easily handled the shot.
The Americans had an opportunity to further the lead ten minutes later when University of Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian hammered a shot from 15 yards out, but it only rattled the post. The teams went to the break with U.S. holding a two-goal advantage.
After half, Swanson’s side quickly put the game out of reach with four goals in 27 minutes to start the second stanza.
"We were happy with the result. I think our performance was good at times and other times not as sharp as maybe we would have liked," U.S. U-20 WNT head coach Steve Swanson said in a release. "We finished some good goals and we got better as the second half progressed. Those were good things to see. In this first game we felt our nerves a little bit and just weren't as sharp as we had been up until this point. It's the start of things and it's good to get off to a good start."
Horan scored her second of the game in the 46th minute when she raced onto a through ball and hit a sliding effort past the keeper from the upper corner of the box.
Eight minutes later, Dunn set up another goal with a splendid cross. The defender drove the ball to the far post and Stengel headed it home for her lone strike of the evening.
Johnston grabbed her second six minutes after that. Captain Mollie Pathman delivered a corner kick into the box that Sam Mewis struck on the volley and Johnston deflected into the net.
Horan capped off the game with a scissor kick goal with only sixteen minutes left on the clock. Substitute Chi Ubogagu started the movement with some fancy footwork that eluded multiple defenders before she sent an exquisite cross to Maya Hayes.
Hayes header went off the crossbar; the rebound hit off the head of a trailing defender and bounced off the post to Horan who completed her hat trick. The U.S. eased back after the sixth goal, and saw the game out for an easy victory.
The U20 women’s national team is back in action on Sunday in the second game of pool play against Cuba.
Top U.S. performances against Guatemala:
U.S. starting lineup:
1-Bryane Heaberlin; 4-Crystal Dunn, 3-Cari Roccaro, 5-Kassey Kallman, 2-Mollie Pathman (capt.); 15-Sam Mewis, 6-Morgan Brian (12-Vanessa DiBernardo, 68), 8-Julie Johnston; 11-Lindsey Horan, 14-Katie Stengel (9-Chi Ubogagu, 57), 7-Kealia Ohai (20-Maya Hayes, 46)